ANI Photo | It’s a tussle for Bhumihar votes in Vaishali as NDA faces tough RJD fight in bid to retain seat

Also known as the cradle of democracy in the country. the Vaishali district in Bihar is poised for a keen contest between the Lok Janshakti (Ram Vilas) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), with both parties vying for Bhumihar votes.
Vaishali is set to poll in the sixth or penultimate phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on May 25.
LJP (Ram Vilas) has put sitting MP Veena Devi into the fray for Vaishali while the RJD has fielded former MLA and strongman Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla from the prized Lok Sabha seat.
While Veena Devi identifies herself as a Rajput, Shukla hails from the Bhumihar caste. While both candidates are eyeing Bhumihar votes, the Rajputs and the biggest land-owning general caste make for prominent vote banks in the constituency.
The general sense is that the Bhumihars have traditionally sided with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), putting whoever the alliance fielded in the Lok Sabha. However, the battle, this time, is likely to be a stiff one as keen to weaken the NDA’s hold on the seat, the RJD has fielded Shukla, who belongs to the electorally significant community in the region.
Speaking to ANI, sitting MP Veena Devi opened up on the electoral challenge from a Bhumihar face this time, saying, “I don’t see any competition as everybody wants local leaders to represent the public (in Parliament). Our electoral preparations and campaign are going well and I anticipate one-sided voting (in her favour) this time as well. There will be no split in Bhumihar votes as the community will yet again lean on the NDA and vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I believe the people will vote overwhelmingly for the country’s development and progress.”
The LJP (Ram Vilas), who has set her hopes of a fresh term in the Lok Sabha from Vaishali on the electoral goodwill and popularity of PM Modi, added, “PM Modi has put in tireless and sincere work for the country and my job is to take his work to the people here. Even the children here are admirers and fans of Modi-ji.”
However, her RJD rival Munna Shukla talked up his chances of springing an upset victory this time in Vaishali, saying he was confident of polling good numbers in the elections.
Expressing confidence in mining Bhumihar votes being a member of the community, Shukla told ANI, “We (Bhumihar) are the ones who brought NDA (to power). However, with unemployment, inflation, and high taxes on everything, the mood of the nation has changed and the electoral destiny of Vaishali could also be up for a change this time. I am hopeful that the INDIA bloc will form the government at the Centre on June 4.”
However, Veena Devi said she was confident of retaining Vaishali by a margin of 4 lakh votes, which, if accomplished, would be more than her tally in the previous elections in 2019.
Ashish Ranjan, a local, said unemployment and development were the main issues of voters going into the May 25 polling, adding that not much development happened in the last five years. He added while the sitting MP received votes in PM Modi’s name in the last elections, she didn’t do anything of note for the people of the constituency.
“Bhumihars have been among the core BJP voters. However, Lalu Yadav gave a ticket to a Bhumihar candidate this time. Bihar, as we all know is known for its caste identities and politics and putting a Bhumihar candidate in the fray here could favour the RJD this time,” Ashish added.
Sharing his views on the prevailing political headwinds in the region, another local, Vivek Singh Kashyap, who is a Bhumihar voter, said jobs and development are the need of the hour for Vaishali.
“I’m a Bhumihar voter and we have historically voted in favour of the NDA. However, not much work was done for the community over the last five years. My sense is that 95 per cent of voters will swing towards the RJD this time. Almost 2.5 lakh voters here are Bhumihars while the Rajputs account for another 1.5 lakh. We feel we have been neglected which is why we want to go with the RJD this time,” Kashyap told ANI.
Prem Kumar Singh, also a resident, reckoned that while the NDA faces an intense challenge from the RJD, not all votes will go to the latter. However, he said, the majority of Bhumihars would vote for Munna Shukla.
“It is just Modi whom we want to vote for as he has worked for the poor, has given them ration, provided sanitation, gave us health cards and vaccines free of cost,” he told ANI.
The first five phases of polling in Bihar were held on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13 and May 20. The next two rounds of voting are scheduled to be held on May 25 and June 1.
The counting of votes for all phases in the state and elsewhere is scheduled for June 4

Subscribe to our Newsletter

ANI News Logo
About ANI


ANI is a leading multimedia news agency.